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Good news: Economy rebounds. Bad news: So does road congestion


If you thought your Twin Cities commute was becoming more of a hassle, your hunch was correct.

KARE reports that the metro area has moved higher on INRIX's 7th Annual National Traffic Scorecard, which looks at traffic, congestion and commute times in cities across the country. The station reported that the Twin Cities jumped to the 16th most congested city in the U.S. In 2012, the metro area was ranked 19th.

The most congested corridor in the metro is during the afternoon rush on the four mile stretch of road from where westbound I-94 in St. Paul turns onto Highway 280 and then feeds into I-35W northbound.

That stretch of road takes 4.3 minutes to traverse when traffic flows freely, but snags to an average of 14.6 minutes during the evening rush.

USA Today reported that Los Angeles is first in the report, followed by Honolulu and San Francisco.

INRIX creates its annual scorecard from its archive of real-time traffic information, analyzing data from a variety of sources, including road sensors and real-time traffic speeds crowd-sourced from millions of vehicles and mobile devices.

The story said the data concludes that increased traffic congestion is directly related to the economic recovery following the recession. Nationwide, congestion was up 6 percent in 2013. In 2013, 61 of the nation's largest 100 cities had increased traffic congestion, up significantly from 2012, when only six cities saw increases.

"Traffic's coming back," says Jim Bak, author of the report. "It's still not where it was before the recession. However, it is getting worse, and the question now is how do we prevent bad traffic from inhibiting our economic recovery."

New data from the Federal Highway Administration showed that the number of miles driven by commercial trucks has risen as the improving economy creates demand for more goods being traded between metropolitan areas. These trucks contribute to road congestion.

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